Interview with Kieran Gilbert – Sky News AM Agenda – Wednesday 1 October 2014






SUBJECT/S: ABC Cuts; Senate Inquiry into Newman Government; Christensen’s Ban the Burqa Push.

KIERAN GILBERT: A bit of a change of tack now, we are going to look at some local issues with the Shadow Communications Minister, Jason Clare. Your opposite number in the Government, Malcolm Turnbull, has suggested that the cuts to the ABC that if the organisation wants to cut programming that’s a matter for it, but he says suggestions that popular programs or services are at risk because of budget savings are not credible. That back office cuts can be made as opposed to front line programs and so on.

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: Kieran I’d make two points. The first is that the night before the election Tony Abbott said there’d be no cuts to the ABC and there’d be no cuts to SBS, then in the Budget they broke that promise and cut the ABC and SBS’s budget by more than $200 million and now we are told there’s another $200 million over the forward estimates that are going to be cut.

Kieran we don’t know what the impact of those cuts are going to be on the ABC because the secret report that’s been written into these cuts is still on Malcolm Turnbull’s table and he’s refusing to release it. There’s no way of knowing what the real impact on the ABC is going to be until Malcolm Turnbull releases that report.

GILBERT: He knows what’s in it and he’s saying that back of house operations can provide a lion’s share here in terms of the savings that the important programs like the news programs but I guess Peppa Pig and those sorts of programs as well that they won’t face the chopping block, excuse the pun.

CLARE: Kieran he is asking you to trust him and after they lied about this before the election. Why should you trust them on this now? I’m asking the Government just to do a simple thing and that is release the report. Release the report that’s on Malcolm Turnbull’s desk that explains where these cuts are made and what the impact of them will be. If they don’t release the report then you can’t trust anything they say on this.

GILBERT: Is Labor in a case for tit for tat here when it comes to the Palmer led inquiry into the Queensland Government? It does seem like this is a personal vendetta that’s being played out through the Senate.

CLARE: Campbell Newman’s mum, when she was in the Senate chaired an inquiry into the Queensland Government. There’s been inquiries by the Senate, led by the Liberal Party into Traveston Dam and into the Beattie Government’s handling of the local government amalgamations. This is not new Kieran. There’s been inquiries by Senate Committees into state government behaviour before and I’m sure it will happen again.

GILBERT: I want to ask you finally about this issue that we’ve had simmering away in terms of, a side issue to the terrorism matter and that is a ban on the burqa. That’s a proposal from some. Peta Credlin trying to tone down the rhetoric on this and dial down the tension from what she has said to an LNP member, what’s your take on this issue at the moment?

CLARE: I think people should be able to wear whatever they want, whether it’s a bikini or a burqa. It’s up to the individual involved. I’d say two things. I wouldn’t like to be George Christensen today, I suspect he’s on a spit roast in Peta Credlin’s office right now because it’s one thing to leak against your colleagues, it’s another thing to leak against one of the most powerful people in the Government.

GILBERT: He’s saying it’s nonsense. He’s put out a statement saying the story is nonsense and he told the journalist that.

CLARE: Well the journalist obviously doesn’t think it is. There’s a more important point here though and that is what’s happening overseas and what we are seeing happening here in Australia is scaring people.

I had an Anglo-Celtic woman come up to me in a shopping centre on Friday and ask me, straight faced, whether it was safe to take her kids to school and on the other hand you’ve got the Muslim community feeling victimised, being spat at, being yelled at with racist taunts or you had a woman pushed off a train the other day.

A leader in my community got a death threat the other day with a phone call threatening to cut her head off. Now when you’ve got the community feeling like its being pulled in both directions there’s an obligation on all politicians here to work together, as Malcolm Turnbull said last week, if you are saying things like this you are just playing into the terrorists hands, we need to work together and the best thing George Christensen can do is just to put a sock in it.

GILBERT: Jason Clare thanks for your time, appreciate it.

CLARE: Thanks Kieran.